One would think this is just another post about the Ateneo x La Salle game and move on, but to me, that eventful Saturday afternoon will not be just another Ateneo x La Salle game. I was a friggin virgin – it was the first UAAP game I have ever watched live, so you can’t blame me for cherishing that game.
Before I go further, I would like to thank my sponsors Ima, Vadet, and Prince for giving me a ticket; I never would have been able to watch the game without you guys. Also to Maan for sponsoring our food, and Maj, Nicole, and Paula for accompanying us.
Anyway, so… the game. With said people above, we lined up at around 2 in the afternoon even though the game was around 4:30 still. We really wanted to have a nice seat (as nice as Upper B seats could get), and have our picture taken by a random photographer. Yes, we are cam-whores, don’t judge us; it was a special event. :3
The rivalry of the two schools has always been famous, so well-known that it even reached a famous magazine in America (I just forgot what exactly). It’s funny actually, because the game’s not even starting and I can already feel the heat. Seriously. While waiting for my blockmates, my family and I decided to eat first. Donned in the typical blue shirt with “I Bleed Blue” in front, we walked around Gateway and I would get the occasional stare from those wearing green. You know how in cartoons when two rivals stare at each other there would be this lightning going from one eye to another? It didn’t really happen in my case, but I guess it’s close enough. I didn’t really know the person, and the person doesn’t really know me; but because of the hype from “being rivals”, we just had to clash. That’s how influential a certain “culture” could be, and it’s actually a bit scary; amusing, but scary.
As we entered the arena, a sudden sense of dread filled my being. Oh good Lord that was quite a La Sallian crowd. Led by their pep squad and its deafening drums, the sea of green armed with clapper balloons were the first to shout out cheers for their team. I had no idea what they were cheering at that moment, but it sure as hell scared me; the fact that there seemed to be more Green supporters than Blue didn’t help any. As I looked at the Ateneo crowd, I felt a bit disheartened by the fact that the crowd was so… boring. I was so excited, but the crowd didn’t seem to match my enthusiasm. A blockmate and I were trying to be positive about it saying, “It’s just coz we Ateneans have class”. But then we looked at each other, “Nahh who are we kidding? We would like to cheer like that (how the Lasallians do), too.” So continued my belief that the Ateneo crowd was boring, but minutes into the game, they definitely proved my belief wrong.
With my blockmates and the Atenean crowd, each cheer by the opponent was faced by our own, each “Beat Ateneo” with “One Big Fight”. Our crowd could really cheer! No, we are not boring. It is just that Ateneans know how to be calm and collected in the face of adversity. Right? Right. But when it comes to the right time to show support, WE SHOW SUPPORT. Half the time, I didn’t know the “lyrics” for the cheers, I only know how to shout “Go Ateneo”, “One big fight”, and the classic “WOOO!!”
In the Ateneo, there will always be a social division. It may seem that because people are from different walks of life, students can never be united for a cause. But no, in that moment, it didn’t matter. It was a time of relative silence from the crowd when suddenly a girl at the back cheered with her group of friends. The girl was sporting a rather arrogant look, and normally, I wouldn’t “agree” with someone who gives off arrogant vibes. But at that instance, I didn’t care. She’s cheering, I’m going to cheer aswell. Just like how the Philippines can be united, no matter the social class or religion, during Pacquiao’s match, Ateneans can too. It is certainly delightful how we can be energized by people we don’t even know, how crowds forget their sense of individuality even for a little while, and just be part of something.
I prayed to God to let the first game I’m watching to be action-packed and exciting, and he did! By the time La Salle had an 11 point lead and it was almost the end of the game (well, not really but you get the point), Ima and I were already hugging, so tense, nervous, worried, and just gahh! We really didn’t want to let the first game we ever watched to be a game where our school lost. But alas, we won! It was amazing. Just amazing. I saw Ateneans cheering, hugging and shaking hands with each other; and I don’t think some really knew each other. My brother even told me, when he found out the Ateneo won, that he shook hands with random Ateneans. Dudes, he’s from La Salle! But then again, the excitement from the nerve-wracking victory makes one forget about everything.
As I arrived home and got online, when days before there were insults, bashing to and fro both schools, that time… well okay there were still a bit of bashing (whatever luto might mean), but it’s nice to see how Ateneans and La Sallians can be civil with each other again. See? We are not constrained by whatever school we go through. We do not believe in the idea that Black is Black, White is White. A perfect example of this is how Atenean Tiongson was helped by a La Sallian. Rivalry during the UAAP season is inevitable, but outside the courts and after the game, the rivalry recedes. It’s still there, but not as intense as during a match.
I was supposed to go to a comedy bar with the rest of my SA class that day, but after the hype of the game, I ended up tired, but very, very satisfied. I may not have gone to Laffline, but it’s fine. I have no regrets.